Wednesday Dec 28 2011
Library has an interesting story to tell - its own
HUNTING FOR HEAVY METAL IN COLFAX
On the corner of South Main and Church streets in Colfax stands a newly refurbished and expanded Colfax Library. On its outside wall is a plaque that is the newest in town but is not much help to history other than a current record of events of 2010. The Monterey-style building is historic. In many ways, a must on the list of buildings needing a true recognition tablet. As usual in research, there are many questions. Daniel Russell, himself another story, owned the property on the corner of Church and Main Street in 1917. He may have sold or leased the property that year, but regardless, the consequence was that Pacific Gas and Electric and the U.S. Post Office were residents of the new building from then until the latter part of the century. After decades of service at the corner, in 1972 the post office moved to their current location on Church Street. The county library took advantage of the open space the post office vacated and moved into the building. Until that time, the library had been sharing the county court house building on the corner of Grass Valley and Culver streets. PG&E closed their Colfax office until the 1980s. After their departure, that part of the building was leased to an assortment of businesses, until it was purchased by the county. The Placer County Library Service Plan, developed in 2002, indicated that the Colfax Library was critical for expansion The Friends of the Library assisted the county in identifying possible locations for a new facility. They also began raising funds to help reach this goal. Ultimately, in 2006, after reviewing many possibilities, the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase and renovation of the existing building with a $1.82 million budget. The library itself has a fascinating story to tell. Starting in the early time of Colfax, a “volunteer” library of sorts was housed, over the years, in various places throughout the town. Library locations have included the former Staagi Bakery on Depot Street and a building next to the Colfax Garage on Grass Valley Street. In 1939, county librarian Mrs. Faye K. Russell (unknown if there is a relation to D.A. Russell), addressed the Colfax Lions Club and stated that the Colfax branch was the largest branch in number of books loaned outside of the home library at Auburn. She enlisted her audience “to do all in its power to assist in securing a more suitable and larger place in which to house the Colfax branch.” It is not certain what became of that request. However, what is certain is the commitment of the custodians and branch managers of the library. People like Elisabeth Pearce, Mildred Pipes and Charlotte Davidson laid the foundation of access to books in this town. Bea Mintline wrote many articles in the Colfax Record promoting reading and library events. Myrtle Bell is remembered by many adults today as the mainstay as their childhood storyteller. Most recently, Andrea Spark - and now Gunda Pramuk - carry on the library legacy. The grand opening of the “new” preservation of an old building took place on July 17, 2010. Today, more people remember the building for reading pleasure than having to pay power bills.